Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Loe: Deans' black look just said it all

All Black Israel Dagg scores a try. Photo / Richard Robinson
All Black Israel Dagg scores a try. Photo / Richard Robinson

It's been a long time - in fact I can't remember one - since I have seen an Australian rugby team as toothless as they were last night. It was pretty awful.

They showed the coaches' box a couple of times and the look on Robbie Deans' face ... well, I can only say he had the look of a man who'd been told he was down the road unless they won. It was the same kind of look on the face of Will Genia and Digby Ioane when Israel Dagg scored his try - they looked like they were about to be hung.

Did I say they looked like they knew they had to win? They didn't even look like they could score. The All Blacks were still a bit rusty I thought, though improved from last week, and they were just too clinical for a Wallaby side that shipped 22 points and just didn't offer anything.

They just looked like they were a group of players who didn't know how to play out their 80 minutes. They competed more in the rucks and mauls in the first half and sometimes, when you grind away, you get a score at the end of it all.

They just never looked like that was going to happen. They just ground away for the sake of it and, when they ran out of room and/or ideas, they gave it to the backs who kicked it away and then ball-watched.

Compare that to the All Blacks who went through a patch when they were under pressure. When they kicked, their chasing game was so hot, they really put the acid on the Wallaby catchers.

The All Blacks still have plenty of room to improve. I thought Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg stood out in the backs and Kieran Read really stood out for a man who has missed a lot of rugby this season. I'd also like to mention Liam Messam - I thought he had a good game and was into everything. When Victor Vito came on, he also played well. So that's some good competition for that No 6 jersey.

While we are talking about the subs, most of them played really well - Andrew Hore made a difference, so did Brodie Retallick and Ben Smith though Aaron Smith was going so well that Piri Weepu added little.

- Herald on Sunday

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Richard Loe is a former All Black and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Richard Wyllie Loe was a renowned All Black forward prop who plied his trade for the New Zealand national team between 1987 and 1995. Loe was well known by fans and team mates alike as an ‘enforcer’ on the pitch, a player who balanced his abilities with the ball with a tough-tackling prowess and a penchant for physicality. During an outstanding career Richard Loe represented his country of birth in no less than three World Cups, assisting the All Blacks to a famous victory in 1987. Along with fellow team mate and captain Sean Fitzpatrick, Loe formed one of the most formidable forward lines ever to lead the All Blacks. Despite his sometimes overly physical dominance on the pitch, Loe is regarded by former team mates as being an exceptional character and professional. Following retirement from rugby Loe became a sport columnist for the New Zealand Herald, a position he still holds today.

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